By Sherri Kolade
Who is the next Black literary great? Will he or she be from Detroit? Will that writer ever be found? Yes, if you know where to look for the right books.
According to a Diversity in Publishing 2019 survey, 76% of authors were white, 74% were women, and 89% were non-disabled, per Lee & Low Books.
The Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0) was sent to thousands of literary agents, trade publishing employees and both children’s and adult divisions of their respective companies.
According to OverDrive, Inc., a digital distributor of eBooks, books by Black authors across the board, no surprise, are very popular and have garnered a 200% increase in circulation on all the OverDrive platforms.
What does this mean for Black authors? Despite low publishing statistics, their work is valued and valuable.
Shawn Blanchard, who knows his worth and the worth of his peers as an author, publisher and CEO at the University of Moguls Publishing & Design, is a literary force to be reckoned with. He’s been on a mission since he was a child about making his ideas come to life, with his latest success coming in the form of publishing books.
“You’re supposed to manifest your dream life. Speak it and execute it,” Blanchard penned in a Facebook post. “Own your story, message and expertise the same way musicians own their masters.”
The Moguls Publishing & Design firm has a team of experts that make a story, message or expertise “come alive in book form.”
Blanchard told the Michigan Chronicle that his company helps others own their voices.
“Everyone has a story and it’s a matter of making sure we can get it out to the world,” Blanchard said, adding that over 90% of Americans say they have a book in them. “The amount of Black Americans, not enough of us representing us and telling our stories. … My thing is very Christopher Columbian approach to literature …. Important that we can own our stories and uplift.”
“We assist you in creating an author empire by providing resources and coaching you to build multiple streams of impact and income as an author-speaker-entrepreneur,” according to their website.
Blanchard is known for his execution, especially when it comes to facing the uncertain. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he published 250 Black authors through his local company, which focuses on seven service areas: marketing and branding, editing, design, direction, distribution and speaker platform packaging.
“Between 2020 and 2021 is when I surpassed 250 published books. There’s many more now,” Blanchard said, adding that his company spans the country and internationally, too. “I attract Black authors. Literally, Black and Brown authors come to me for services … because they want to work with someone who looks like them.”
His authors are upwards of 500 spanning the globe including parts of Europe, Africa, Canada and Barbados.
Blanchard, a native Detroiter, described as a mentorship specialist, is also an international speaker, has executed numerous national book tours and has led others to achieve the same success with his flagship program, Author Secrets Empire, according to his website.
Blanchard said that authors don’t need a platform to launch their book.
“Your book can launch your platform — it’s not about book sales but [enabling] you to provide value to your customers … to take life to that next level for you and your customers,” Blanchard said.
Before his publishing career path pivot, Blanchard was appointed to the city of Detroit’s Mayoral Cabinet as the Director of Youth Services. Throughout his tenure, he launched a citywide elementary soccer league and provided nearly 5,600 jobs while overseeing the “Grow Detroit’s Young Talent” youth employment initiative. He also served as the Detroit Mayor’s Office Liaison of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative and remains an active board member.
As a result of his leadership and dedication to serving his community, Blanchard was awarded the 2017 Top 35 Millennial Influencers by NBT and the 2016 President Barack Obama’s Volunteer Community Service Award.
On his LinkedIn page, Blanchard described himself as knowing “what it means to turn a test into a testimony.”
Throughout his beginnings, he learned to evolve into an “upstanding gentleman” and be exactly what he needed as a child to many.
Through co-founding a successful mentoring program, which expanded to legal guardianship of a teenager, obtaining multiple degrees and leading a math department to the top 5% in New York City, Blanchard has defined what it means to be a modern-day “Renaissance Man,” according to his LinkedIn page.
He has been featured in Essence Magazine as “Man of the Month,” CNN’s “Impact Your World,” Black Enterprise’s “Be Modern Man,” and most recently featured as a TEDx keynote speaker where he discussed the “Science of Mentorship.” Additionally, Blanchard has taught mathematics at the University of Michigan and co-founded a local fitness movement.
Blanchard told his online followers that he once promised himself as a kid that life would be “exactly how it is now.”
“Now I’m making new promises to the current me about new levels and massive impact for everyone in my tribe,” Blanchard said online. “I’ve helped many people be one author and build their empires… it’s time to take it to the next level in 2022. I’m rooting for you.”
For more information visit www.myauthorempire.com.